« Ch. XXVIII. Q. 148. What is the doctrine of the Real Presence? | Main | Ch. XXVIII. Q. 150. How is the Holy Eucharist a proper Sacrifice? »

September 19, 2005

Ch. XXVIII. Q. 149. What are the effects of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?

THE EFFECTS of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist are (a.) a strengthening and refreshing of the spiritual life of Baptism, by feeding on the Body and Blood of Christ: (b.) a cleansing of soul and body: (c.) a participation in the Sacrifice of Christ, and in the benefits which flow from it.1

2. The Body and Blood of Christ are truly taken and received by all who receive the consecrated species, since the unworthiness of those who eat and drink cannot destroy the objective efficacy of the consecration. But when the species are destroyed by their consumption, the sacramental presence, of course, ceases to exist. Those who are worthy, however, appropriate the res sacramenti by means of faith; while those who are unworthy cannot do so, but eat and drink damnation to themselves, not discerning the Lord's Body 2, and are in no wise partakers of Christ (Art. XXIX). The means whereby the Body and Blood of Christ are conveyed to our souls are the consecrated species and their reception into our bodies; but the means whereby they are spiritually appropriated and received is faith (Art. XXVIII).3

3. In Baptism a new birth occurs, while in the Holy Eucharist what is thus born receives "food and sustenance" by partaking of the substance in which its life is contained. Thus our resurrection bodies are vitalized and developed in us; and our bodies are washed and our souls cleansed by the holy and virtue-imparting Flesh and Blood which they receive. Finally, by reason of our mystical identification with the glorified Manhood of Christ, thus accomplished, we participate in a peculiarly real manner in the sacrificial transaction which Christ is performing in heaven—His perpetual self-oblation and pleading of His death until He come again to judge the world.4

4. The benefits of receiving this Sacrament depend upon receiving it worthily. This does not mean that sinners are excluded, for the Sacrament was instituted for the benefit of sinners. But they must come with a proper disposition; and this involved repentance and faith, a firm purpose of amendment by God's grace, and charity with all men (Church Catechism, last answer). When the soul is burdened with scruples on account of mortal sin, the Sacrament of Penance should be employed (Exhortation in the Communion office).5

5. Spiritual Communion is a devotional act whereby one who cannot on a particular occasion receive the Sacrament properly, either by reason of lack of opportunity to prepare, or because of physical inability in extremis, takes to heart so far as possible the nature of the mystery, unites himself in spirit with those who communicate, and appropriates benefits which are real although not equal to those of sacramental reception. The benefits of spiritual communion ordinarily depend upon the fact that the person who enjoys them is in a state of communion with Christ, arising from the habit of worthily receiving the Sacrament with due regularity and frequency.6

6. The Roman Church withholds the Cup from the laity, by reason of the danger of accidents which attends its administration; and justifies her action by the doctrine of concomitance. This doctrine is that, since the Body and Blood of Christ can never be divided or separated from each other, they are not divided or separated from each other in the Sacrament, except symbolically. The entire res is present in each particle of each species, and those who receive either species receive the undivided Body and Blood of Christ. The doctrine is true, but it does not justify the practice in question. Our Lord's command to "do this"—i.e., what He did—stands in the way; and there is reason to believe that a distinct end and benefit attends the Communion in each species, although the exact nature of the distinction is not revealed.7

1 Grueber's Cat. of the Church of Eng., 98-106: Mason's Faith of Gosp., IX, 12, 14; Dr. Fiske in N.Y. Church Club Lec. of 1892, pp. 86-103: Schouppe, XIII. 249-256: Wilberforce's Holy Eucharist, ch. XII.

2 I. Cor. XI. 27-30

3 Forbes 39 Arts., XXVIII. 536, 559-567: Art. XXIX: S. Thos. Sum. Th., III. 80. 3-6: Percival, 146: Cat. of Nic. Bulgaris, 233-235, 249-256: Wilberforce, ch. II: pp. 155-159.

4 S. Thos., III. 79: Grueber, 101, 102.

5 Wilberforce, pp. 287-300. For further references cf. § 2.

6 Schouppe, XIII, 248: Wilberforce, 311 et seq: S. Thos., III. 79. 7: 80. 1, 10.

7 cf. Prayer of Humble Access: I. Cor. XI. 23-29. S. Thos., III. 80. 12: Forbes' 39 Arts., XXX, esp. 599, 600: Mason's Faith of the Gosp., IX. 15: Pusey's 2nd. Letter to Newman, 328-331: Notes and Questions from Pusey, 150-153: Elmendorf's Elements of Moral Theol., 583, 584.

Posted by Trevor at September 19, 2005 07:00 PM